More than 1000 submissions from the community were submitted as part of the public exhibition for plans to construct an energy from waste facility on Honeycomb Drive at Eastern Creek, with website submission documents revealing 17 online objections from government, agencies and organisations were lodged with only one group supporting the proposal.
The submissions highlighted that the local community has serious concerns about The Next Generation application to construct an Energy from Waste facility, with feedback from residents, government agencies, councils and other stakeholders.
Excessive noise, 'toxic pollution', air quality and unpleasant odour are some of the reasons behind objections for the "deadly facility," as one public complainant referred to the development.
Those organisations objecting to the development included Parramatta Climate Action Network, Environment Protection Authority Sydney South, Allens Sydney, Fairfield West Parliament, National Toxics Network NSW, Blacktown City Council and Starlights Netball Club. Hillsong Connect Group was the only organisational group to openly lodge its support.
An Energy from Waste Facility uses thermal technology to convert waste that would otherwise go to landfill into steam which drives turbines to generate electricity. As the proposed development will have a capital investment exceeding $30 million, it is declared to be a State Significant Development (SSD). Assessment of the proposal will be undertaken in consultation with key stakeholders, including Blacktown City Council, Penrith Council and State government agencies such as the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and NSW Health.
The engineering design capacity can thermally treat up to 1.35 million tonnes of residual waste per year to produce about 137 megawatts of electricity (capable of servicing approximately 200,000 homes). Associated infrastructure includes a boiler house, steam turbines for electricity generation and air emissions stacks.
Anthea Sargeant, Executive Director, Key Sites and Industry Assessments, from the Department of Planning and Environment said there were a number of issues that were reflected in the submissions which will be taken into account in the final assessment.
“Feedback included concerns about health risks, air quality, location of the facility and the suitability of the site,” said Ms Sargeant.
“The Next Generation will need to prepare an official response to the submissions and address the concerns raised. This is an important part of the planning process.
“We realise the scale and the issues involved which is why expert independent advice in the fields of human health risk and international best practice waste to energy engineering, has been sought to help in our assessment.”
The Department is working closely with state government agencies such as the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and NSW Health to assess the proposal.
The Department will review all of the submissions, and do a full assessment of the proposal before referring its recommendation to the independent Planning Assessment Commission to make a final decision.